Sawtell U15’s shine at Manly and Freshwater Carnivals

Sawtell Surf Club Competitors Excel in Tough Sydney Competition

This season has seen two of our U15 competitors increase their competition attendance achieving
excellent results.
After five weeks of intensive mid-season training, two of Sawtell’s U15 competitors travelled to
compete at the Manly and Freshwater Carnivals over the Australia Day long weekend. Rhys
Mulholland and Maggie McConnachie made their trip worthwhile with excellent results from both
competitors over the two days of racing. These two carnivals are attended by top ranked
competitors from around Australia and are regarded as a good indicator of form going into the State
and Australian championships.
The Manly carnival saw both competitors enter all three individual events – swim, board and iron.
With an unpredictable swell and anyone’s guess as to which alley was best, they raced with skill and
determination, both paddling first in their board heats. Finals saw Rhys make the podium finishing
third, and Maggie also standing up for Sawtell with a second. Swim events had the Sawtell crew
finishing 4th for Maggie and 8 th for Rhys.
The iron events are always inspirational to watch! The order for Manly was swim then board with a
decent swell but little help for an easy ride back to the beach. Rhys completed the swim leg in a very
respectable 7th place, then put in a strong board leg to finish the race in 9 th . Maggie’s race saw her
come in in third place from the swim, gaining a place in the transition, and then paddling a perfect
board leg to win comfortably.
Both competitors, still on a high from their excellent individual achievements, then teamed up with
other clubs to race in composite teams for the board relays and Cameron events. The day finished
with their coach brandishing a grin you couldn’t remove, and both competitors keen for day two.
Freshwater carnival was also strongly attended by interstate competitors, giving the Sawtell
competitors a good indication of their competitiveness and fitness levels at this point in the season.
Maggie achieved a very strong 3 rd in the swim race with Rhys coming home in 12 th place.
Board heats saw Maggie and Rhys finish 1 st and 2 nd respectively, with both showing excellent form
and determination. The board final was the highlight of the day for Rhys, paddling a textbook perfect
race to take out 1 st position. Maggie paddled strongly in 3 rd to be caught by a party wave and finish
the race in 7 th place.
The iron events again drew the crowds in to watch the athletes put through their paces. Order was
again swim then board, with both male and female races featuring many strong competitors. Rhys
completed a solid swim leg and then improved his position significantly on board to finish 4 th . Maggie
swam in first followed by a battle in the board leg, to take out 2 nd place after a run finish.
Both Rhys and Maggie are taking away a wealth of knowledge from their two consecutive days of
racing, setting them up for a positive carnival approach leading into this weeks Country
Championships to be held at Kingscliff Beach.
As two of the senior members of Greg Russell’s training group, both Rhys and Maggie have been
setting an example for the younger competitors in both training attitude and competitive approach.
They may be the younger members of the senior club, but they are certainly inspiration for our
junior competitors.

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